Denton, TX, is Denton County’s seat. The city is located along Interstate Highway 35 at the point where it splits to become 35W to Fort Worth and 35E to Dallas. Lying just a few miles (not more than 40) to the north of the two cities, Denton is closely associated with the Fort Worth-Dallas metropolitan area.
Interestingly, Denton did not start out as an early settlement. The city was established in 1857, purposely to become the seat of Denton County. Residents wanted a county seat that was conveniently located close to the county’s center. Three individuals, William Woodruff, William Loving, and Hiram Cisco, donated 100 acres of land as the town’s site. Just as is the case with Denton County, the town got named for John, B. Denton. A commission that comprised of Otis Welch G. (who is sometimes referred to as ‘the Father of Denton’), Charles C. Lacy (County Surveyor) and Joseph Carroll A., laid down the city plan and foundation.
Despite it being established in 1857 and a courthouse being built on the square’s northern side, the city of Denton did not get incorporated until the year 1866. The charter of city incorporation provided for election of city mayor, and J B Sawyer got elected as Denton’s first mayor.
In its first century, Denton’s growth had a lot to do with its position as the seat of Denton County, its function as a hub for agriculture-related manufacturing process (cottonseed oil mills and flour mills), its significance as an agricultural trade center, as well as its small scale cottage industries (including blacksmith shops and poultry kilns). However, in 1890, Denton added another feature that distinguished it from other seats in agricultural based counties; it became a college town.
This was after the North Texas Normal College (present day University of North Texas) was established in the city in 1890. Shortly afterwards, in 1903, the Girls’ Industrial College (modern day Texas Women’s University) was established. While the influence of the colleges was slight for a couple of years, they had a lot in shaping the college of Denton. By the time it was getting to the early 1980s, the two institutions accounted for half of Denton’s population (featuring an enrollment of over 25,000 students), greatly influencing the city’s economic and cultural life. From 1960 to 1980, Denton recorded major growth in population. Its proximity to both Fort Worth and Dallas led to even further growth.